Anime Blu-ray/DVD Combo Review: Fruits Basket Season One Part One

Fruits Basket Season One Part One includes two Blu-ray Discs and two DVDs that include the first 13 episodes of the first season of the series. The set includes both an English dub and the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.

Fruits Basket Season One Part One
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Release Date: November 19, 2019

Fruits Basket Season One is a reboot of the Fruits Basket anime series from 2001. This reboot is being overseen by Natsuki Takaya, the author of the manga.

When comparing the original anime and this series side-by-side, the first few episodes tell the same story with the same storyline intact. However, the two series begin to diverge after this, since the sequencing of some of the events changes between the two tellings. In fact, with the reboot, these changes also diverge from the order of events in the original manga. Considering that the author of the manga is heavily involved with the reboot, I suspect she decided that the story would be stronger by moving some things around.

When comparing the two series, I give the reboot credit for having an overall better tone and feel to it. The original anime isn’t bad for what it is, but the director seemed to try to make it more light-hearted and more of a comedy. The reboot has its humorous moments, to be sure, but the overall tone is more serious and dramatic in nature. In that respect, there are times when the character of Kagura comes across as more “over the top” than she did in the original anime, since the humor involved with her character can sometimes clash with the more serious tone that the reboot is aiming for.

And I also give the reboot higher marks in its art style. Again, the art style in the original Fruits Basket anime wasn’t bad for what it was and the feel the director was going for, but I believe that the reboot gives the characters a more “realistic” look to them. Even though there may be more fantastical elements like the Soma clan curse of changing into the zodiac animals and Hanajima’s wave powers, the story is still set in a realistic version of our world. The more “realistic” look for the characters and their surroundings help to cement the fact that this story is taking place in the real world.

The episodes in the first half of the first season of this reboot of Fruits Basket sets the stage and story of the series. The first episode introduces the viewers to Tohru Honda, Shigure Soma, Yuki Soma, and Kyo Soma, as well as the Soma family curse (where some members of the family change into animals from the Chinese zodiac if they’re hugged by a member of the opposite sex or become ill or stressed). Kyo, however, takes the form of the cat that was left out of the banquet in the zodiac story that’s told in this series. Other Soma family members are introduced in these 13 episodes: Kagura, Momiji, Hattori, Haru, Ayame, and Akito. We are also introduced to Tohru’s friends, Saki Hanajima and Arisa Uotani. Seeing as this is a shojo series, there’s also hints of romantic feelings as well. These first 13 episodes really set the stage for the story and establishes many of the important characters. However, there’s still more to come in the remaining episodes of the first season, which are available on Fruits Basket Season One Part Two.

The Blu-ray video has an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Audio includes Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1. I had no complaints about either the audio or the video quality of this release.

The first disc of the set includes commentaries on Episode 4 and Episode 7. The bulk of the bonus features, however, are on the second disc. There is a “Fruits Basket Tell All” feature, which is a documentary featuring quite a few members of the English dub cast sharing what it was like to return to voice the same characters for the Fruits Basket reboot anime. There are also five “Fruits Basket Inside The Episode” features, which run for five minutes each and appear to have been originally made to be streamed on FUNimation’s website. Apparently, they went with Episodes 1, 4, 7, 10, and 13. They basically consist of some of the English dub actors talking about working on the show as a whole… and not about the episodes that they went with. These were OK, but they’re not something I’m going to rush to watch again. There is also a textless version of the opening song and a textless version of the closing song.

If you’re a fan of the Fruits Basket reboot anime, then this Blu-ray set would be worth getting to add to your anime home video library.

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